Notice of Availability of Administrative Supplements Providing Research Experiences for Physicians and Medical Students from Diverse Backgrounds


Notice Number: NOT-MH-12-019

Related Announcements:

NOT-MH-15-004

Key Dates

Release Date: March 15, 2012

Receipt Date:  April 2, 2012; March 22 annually thereafter

Earliest Start Date:  June 1 annually

Issued by

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Purpose

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announces an administrative supplement program to provide funds to NIMH-supported research projects to support advanced research experiences for outstanding early career physicians and medical students from diverse backgrounds. 

In response to recommendations from the 2008 National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroup on Research Training, the NIMH encourages the recruitment, training, and retention of outstanding physician-scientists from diverse backgrounds.  The purpose of this program is to improve the diversity of the mental health research workforce by supporting and recruiting early stage investigators from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in scientific disciplines relevant to mental health research on a national basis.  For the purposes of this initiative, eligible candidates include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and individuals with disabilities (see “Eligible Candidates” below).  The NIMH expects that participation in this administrative supplement program will enhance the professional development of the participating individuals, sustain their career trajectory through research independence, and lead to scientific advances that will help transform the understanding and treatment of mental illness.

Background

The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce.  The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation’s capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.

Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and thus to increase the participation of individuals from groups currently underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences at a national level.  For this program, applicants are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity in the national research workforce.

Numerous studies continue to underscore the lack of diversity among scientists who are engaged in biomedical and behavioral research in the U.S. (National Research Council (NRC), 2000 ; National Academy of Sciences et al., 2011 ) and provide evidence of a national need to develop and maintain a strong and diverse 21st century scientific workforce.  Although the NIH currently provides multiple opportunities to develop research careers and improve participation for individuals from groups with low representation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, reports from the National Science Foundation (NSF, 2011 ) and others provide strong evidence that diversity remains an important problem that the entire research enterprise must actively address.

Recent data highlight challenges to increasing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce.  For example, in 1989, 4.6% of the U.S. citizen recipients of the life sciences doctorates self-identified as American Indian, Black, or Hispanic; in 2006, 10.8% self-identified as American Indian, Black or Hispanic (NSF, 2010 ).  In all science fields, only 1.2% of doctorate recipients in 2008 self-identified as disabled (NSF, 2008 ).  In 2006, African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanic/Latinos, and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders constituted approximately 25% of the U.S. population, and 15% of recent medical graduates, but only 7.5% of full-time medical faculty (AAMC, 2008 ).  Over time, these rates have remained stagnant.  In 2010, African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanic/Latinos, and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders constituted approximately 14.4% and 7% of medical graduates and full-time medical faculty, respectively (AAMC , 2011).  In Psychiatry, less than 7% of full-time medical faculty self-identified as individuals from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group in 2010 (AAMC, 2011 ).

There is abundant evidence that the biomedical and educational enterprise will directly benefit from broader inclusion.  Bollinger (2003) noted that diversity during medical training enhances the quality of the physician workforce by introducing different perspectives and fostering collaboration, which enhances creative problem solving.  Similarly, Daley et al. (2006) indicated that increasing diversity may contribute to a balanced research agenda by introducing new lines of scholarship, promoting better understanding of factors influencing health service utilization and decision-making, and increasing and strengthening basic, translational, and clinical research, as well as intervention development and implementation, and dissemination of research findings.  There is no question that the need for a diverse workforce permeates all aspects of the nation’s health-related research effort.

The NIMH has an emphasis on research capacity building with a particular focus on expanding opportunities in research training and career development for investigators from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical science.  The NIMH has a long-standing commitment to increasing the diversity of the research workforce.  This commitment is exemplified by the research training and career development programs supported by the Institute and by the reports and associated recommendations issued in two workgroup reports of the National Advisory Mental Health Council, Investing in the Future and An Investment in America’s Future: Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Mental Health Research Careers .  Despite this commitment, the pipeline of individuals from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical science striving toward and becoming NIMH-funded investigators continues to be less than would be expected or desired.  This pattern is most striking in genetics and neuroscience, two research areas in which NIMH expects sustained need for skilled researchers in the future (2008 National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroup on Research Training ).

Much has been written about the critical role that physicians play in biomedical research (Schafer, 2009 ).  It is widely believed that physician researchers bring a unique perspective to research because of the blend of clinical and research perspectives honed through graduate and medical education, residency, and fellowship.  In addition, physician researchers may be well-trained for translational research careers, where they can move clinical problems into the laboratory and incorporate scientific findings into bedside care.

Over the past three decades, there has been a steady decline in the number of physician-scientists actively pursuing research careers (Zemlo, et al., 2000 ; Ley et al, 2005 ; Abrams et al, 2003 ; Yang, 2006 ).  In neuroscience and psychiatry, the decline has been even more rapid than in other branches of medicine (Fenton, James, & Insel, 2004 ).  In addition to improving the diversity of the mental health research workforce, NIMH seeks to increase the number of physician-scientists conducting mental-health research.  In response to recommendations from the 2008 National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroup on Research Training , this Administrative Supplement Program is designed to encourage the recruitment, training, and retention of outstanding physician-scientists from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical science.

Research Opportunities

The proposed research experience must be an integral part of the approved, ongoing research of the parent grant and it must have the potential to contribute significantly to the research career of the candidate.  The specific scope of the research experience may vary depending on such factors as career stage of the candidate, the nature of the parent grant, the candidate’s technical skills and long-term research goals, and the candidate’s available effort.  Applications must include a plan for the candidate to interact with other individuals on the parent grant, to contribute intellectually to the research, and to enhance his/her research skills and knowledge regarding the selected area of science.  The research experience must also provide evidence of a focus on the enhancement of the research capability of the candidate as it is intended to provide opportunities for development as a productive researcher.  Administrative supplement requests must demonstrate that the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is willing to provide appropriate guidance and supervision for the candidate.  At the time of a supplemental award, the parent grant must have time remaining for a reasonable period (usually at least two years).  Award decisions are based on the merit of the research potential of the application, the application’s relevance to the candidate’s potential for an independent research career conducting NIMH-relevant research, and the relationship of both to the research priorities of the NIMH as exemplified in the NIMH Strategic Plan .

An applicant’s submission must focus on only one of the research experiences listed below:

  1. Short-Term (e.g., summer) or off-year (1-year) mentored research experiences for early-career, research oriented medical students.  This supplement program is designed to give outstanding medical students interested in mental health research an opportunity for advanced research experiences during the summer months or during the academic school year.  This research experience is designed to support 12 person months (100% full-time professional effort) of biomedical research experiences for students currently enrolled in accredited U.S. medical school programs.  The candidate may be affiliated with either the applicant institution or another academic institution.
  2. Residency Research Experiences.  The goal of this research opportunity is to help physicians move more efficiently and effectively from residency to the next stage of their research careers by supporting protected research experience time during the medical residency.  The program will support an intensive, advanced research experience.  Candidates must spend at least 20% full-time effort (2.4 person months) engaged in biomedical research.  Candidates currently in good standing in an ACGME-accredited residency program and in PGY2 or beyond are eligible.  The period of support may be no longer than two years.
  3. Research Experiences for Research Track Residents.  This research experience will provide a research experience for outstanding physicians in their final year of residency who are able to devote 100% full-time effort (12 person months) to research during this year.  The program will provide up to three years of support.  The first year of support is required to overlap with the last year of residency; years 2 and 3 will enable additional advanced postdoctoral research experiences after residency is completed.  During years 2 and 3 of support, candidates must commit no less than 50% full-time effort (6 person months) to the proposed research experience.

Eligibility

This announcement is for supplements to NIMH-supported R01, R03, R21, R24, R34, R37, P01, P20, P30, P50, U01, and U19 research projects.  The R03, R21, and R34 mechanisms are only eligible for supplements to support short-term or off-year (1-year) medical student research experiences.  Applications will be accepted in all research areas supported by eligible NIMH grants.  NIH DP1 and DP2 awards may be supplemented through this program if the funded research is aligned with the mission and strategic priorities of the NIMH.  This administrative supplement opportunity is not intended to provide an alternative or additional means of supporting individuals who already receive support from PHS-funded research or training grants.  Individuals may not be transferred to a supplement to increase the availability of funds to the parent grant for other uses. 

To be eligible, the parent grant must be active and have sufficient time remaining, generally at least 2 years remaining at the time of award.  The research proposed in the supplement must be accomplished within the current competitive segment.  The research proposed in the supplement MUST be within the scope of the peer-reviewed activities and aims approved within the parent grant.

The funding mechanism being used to support this program, administrative supplements, can be used to cover cost increases that are associated with achieving certain new research objectives as long as they are within the original scope of the project.  Any cost increases need to result from making modifications to the project in order to take advantage of opportunities that would increase the value of the project consistent with its originally approved objectives and purposes.

A parent grant may support no more than two concurrent administrative supplement awards providing research experiences for physicians and medical students under this notice.  Support under this program is not transferable to another individual.

Before submitting an application for an administrative research supplement, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their Program Official and the Program Contact listed in this Notice to discuss proposed research activities, the application process, and availability of funds.

Eligible Candidates

For the purposes of this notice, applicants are encouraged to identify candidates who will increase diversity on a national basis.  Individuals from diverse backgrounds include:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering).  The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.
  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Candidates must be a citizen or non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.  Candidates must be enrolled and in good standing in an AAMC-accredited medical program or an ACGME-accredited residency or clinical fellowship program and must be able to commit appropriate effort to the proposed research experience.  Applicants are required to furnish a letter from the sponsoring institution establishing the eligibility of the candidate for support, which should include evidence that the applicant is in good standing as a medical student or resident, is an individual from a diverse background, and is a U.S. citizen or has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.  The certification letter must be on institutional letterhead and scanned so that the signature of the signing institutional official is clearly visible.  Medical students must commit 100% of full-time professional effort.  Candidates pursuing the residency research experience must commit at least 20% of full time professional effort (2.4 person months).  Candidates pursuing research experiences as research-track residents must commit 100% full-time professional effort in the first year of support and at least 50% (6 person months) in the subsequent year(s) of support.

Selection Factors

Administrative supplement requests will be reviewed administratively by NIMH Program and Grants Management Staff.  Selection factors will include the following:

  • Scientific merit of the proposed research plan;
  • Candidate’s potential for an independent research career conducting NIMH-relevant research;
  • Relevance of the proposed activities to the funded (parent) grant and the mission and research priorities of the NIMH as exemplified in the NIMH Strategic Plan, or for AIDS-related applications, as exemplified in the research priorities of the most recent annual Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research and the priorities of the NIMH Division of AIDS Research; and
  • Merit and appropriateness of the proposed research experience plan including evidence that the proposed activities are feasible within the context of a short-term research experience for medical students or the context of residency, and that sufficient institutional commitment exists for the proposed research experience.

Budget and Funding Information

Administrative supplement requests are administratively reviewed and are reviewed as they are received.  The final submission date for current fiscal year consideration is March 22.  However, earlier submission is strongly encouraged.  Supplement applications received after March 22 will be considered or funding in the following fiscal year.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their Program Official and the Program Contact listed in this notice to discuss the proposed research activities, the application process, and availability of funds.

All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  Direct costs for individual administrative supplements vary depending on the career level of the candidate.

Medical students: The NIMH will provide salary support in addition to other necessary expenses, such as supplies and travel, to enable the individual to participate fully in the research experience.  The NIMH will provide compensation that conforms to the established, consistently applied salary and wage policies of the institution, consistent with the level of effort, and may not exceed the current published NIH policy (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-12-033.html).  For medical students, this compensation may include tuition remission paid as, or in lieu of, wages provided that the student is in a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the institution for the work performed, and payment is made explicitly for performance of necessary work.  The total amount requested for salary, tuition, and fringe benefits cannot exceed the amount allowable for a first year postdoctoral fellow (i.e., level zero) at the same institution performing comparable work (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-11-067.html).  Additional funds up to $4,200 per year may be requested for supplies and travel.  Funds may not be used to purchase equipment.

Residency Research Experience/Research Experiences for Research Track Residents: The NIMH will provide support for salary in addition to other necessary expenses, such as travel and supplies, to enable the candidate to participate fully in the research experience  The requested salary and fringe benefits must be in accordance with the salary structure of the grantee institution for individuals in comparable positions, consistent with the level of effort, and generally may not exceed $75,000 per year.  The supplement budget may include up to $10,000 for supplies and travel for the candidate.  Funds may not be used to purchase equipment.

Reporting

In non-competing continuation applications, the progress report and budget for the supplement must be clearly delineated from the progress report and budget for the parent grant.  The progress report must include information about the research activities of the candidate supported by the supplement even if support for future years is not requested.  If future support is requested, plans for the candidate’s research activities during the next budget period should be described.  Continuation of support for the candidate in the remaining years of the competitive segment of the grant will depend on satisfactory review by the NIMH of progress for both the parent grant and the supplement project, the research proposed for the next budget period, and the appropriateness of the proposed budget for the proposed effort.  This information is submitted with the PHS Non-Competing Grant Progress Report, PHS Form 2590 and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  Additional reporting is required 90 days prior to the end of the supplement award for candidates supported by the Residency Research Experience and Research Experiences for Research Track Residents opportunities, and medical students supported by the supplement for more than 3 months.  PDs/PIs supporting medical students for short-term research experiences (i.e., summers, or less than 3 months) must report on the candidate’s research and career development 30 days prior to the end of the supplement award.  A final supplement report is required for all supplements, 90 days after the end of the supplement award.

How to Apply

The final submission date for fiscal year 2012 consideration is April 2, 2012.  In future years, the final submission date for current fiscal year consideration is March 22.  However, earlier submission is strongly encouraged.  Supplement applications received after March 22 will be considered or funding in the following fiscal year.

Requests under this notice may be prepared using PHS 398 forms (available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html).  Complete instructions on how to apply can be found at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research-funding/grants/supplements-providing-research-experiences-diverse-backgrounds.shtml under the section entitled Submission Instructions.  All supplement requests must be signed by the Authorized Signing Official for the applicant organization.

Alternatively, requests under this notice may be submitted using the electronic Grants.gov/Apply or eRA Commons Streamlined Submission processes described in PA-12-100.  However, be sure to follow financial, administrative and submission requirements described in this notice and at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research-funding/grants/supplements-providing-research-experiences-diverse-backgrounds.shtml.

  • For eRA Commons submissions, the Research and Career Development Plan, Experience of the PD/PI, Candidate Statement, Statement of Eligibility, Biographical Sketch, Human Subjects/Vertebrate Animal documentation, Candidate Transcript, and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research sections should be included as “Other Attachments”.
  • For Grants.gov/Apply submissions, include the Research and Career Development Plan in the “Research Strategy” field of the PHS398 Research Plan and include the Biographical Sketch as part of the Senior/Key Person Profile form.  All other attachments (Experience of the PD/PI, Candidate Statement, Statement of Eligibility, Human Subjects/Vertebrate Animal documentation, Candidate Transcript, and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research) should be included as “Other Attachments” on the R&R Other Project Information form.

Program Evaluation

Evaluation of this Administrative Supplements program providing research experiences for physicians and medical students from diverse backgrounds will be carried out within seven years after the release of this notice.  The overall evaluation of the program will be based on metrics that may include, but are not limited to: (a) subsequent participation in a formal research training or career development program; (b) publication and/or authorship arising from the research supported under this program; (c) publication and/or authorship of other scientific publications relevant to mental health; (d) subsequent applications for NIMH and NIH funding; and (e) subsequent participation in research in a mental health relevant field.  Findings of this evaluation will determine whether this administrative supplements program is continued as configured, continued with modifications, or discontinued.  Should the findings indicate that the program is no longer needed or is ineffective, NIMH may consider terminating the program.

Inquiries

Inquiries and discussion of plans for responding to this notice are strongly encouraged.

Scientific/Research Contact:

LeShawndra N. Price, Ph.D.
Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8125, MSC 9659
Bethesda, MD 20892-9659
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 443-2847
FAX:  (301) 443-8552
Email:  lprice@mail.nih.gov

Grants Management Contact:

Rebecca Claycamp, M.S., CRA
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD 20892-9605
Telephone: 301-402-7111
Email: rclaycam@mail.nih.gov

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